Creating Meaningful Success

'No man is an island' the saying goes. The implication is that humans cannot exist alone. I would take the island aphorism a step further and contend that no one can be successful alone. Merely existing day-to-day is not enough. Success must be an essential part of our lives. Individual success builds our personal power, increases joy & fulfillment and grows a strong sense of self-esteem. Regardless of how we define our individual idea of success, it is impossible to manifest that desired outcome alone. Fortunately, women are collaborative by nature. We work well on teams and in efforts for the benefit of others. So why is it so difficult for us to act on behalf of ourselves?

Let's look at some of the reasons why we allow ourselves to go it alone:

1) We don't want to ask for help. For many of us, we were told that we could do anything. With that mantra drilled into our minds, it can be a difficult paradox to admit that we may actually need help with something.

2) We are lonely. We feel as if there isn't anyone who can understand what we are going through so we inadvertently make the problem worse by isolating ourselves. However, if one woman feels this way, chances are others do too.

3) We don't want to admit that we aren't perfect. Many of us fear others realizing that we don't have it all together. In reality, however, not one person in this world has it completely together all the time.

4) We often lack confidence. Confidence is an attitude that is a direct outcome of our self-esteem. When we doubt what we want or doubt that we are capable of achieving something, we are often reluctant to enlist the support of others.

5) We don't want to admit that we don't have all the answers. For example, women at work often overcompensate out of a fear of looking unintelligent or unprepared by learning everything possible. This is a waste of energy. Inevitably, a question will come up that we cannot answer.

Instead of inviting a dangerous drift towardfrustrating discontentment, consider taking two steps to set yourself on an authentic path of success:

1) Find a support team. Identify someone with whom you can talk the nitty-gritty. The simple act of self-disclosure will boost your outlook enormously. A support team will also help you offset and minimizes any failures while also championing your vision. I recommend someone outside the family. Family members are too emotionally tied to us. They often cannot champion our success or share our challenges without translating our words into actions that affect them. Don't forget to ask for what you need from your support team. Do you want them to just listen or offer feedback and ideas as well? Let them know how you would like to be supported.

2) Change your mindset:

a) Replace 'perfect' in thoughts & actions with 'authentic'. Perfect is stagnant, contained and invariable while authentic is fresh, limitless and unique.

b) Recall past successes to help remain mindful of the fact that you are terrific at certain things so you can definitely be terrific at other things too.

c) Allow yourself to ask questions instead of allowing fear to dominate. Each time you ask a question, you give yourself permission not to know. When you do not know, you open yourself up to the powerful world of possibility and learning.

We are each magnificent women. But by falling into the 'me vs. the world' trap, we set ourselves up for disappointment. When we limit ourselves by our beliefs, doubts or behaviors, we diminish our opportunity for success and growth increasing our chances of disappointment. Disappointment is emotionally & physically draining and not least of all a huge waste of time. Evaluate what these changes yield in terms of your own success. Pretty soon you will be inventing your own success aphorism!

Elizabeth Johnson is a life coach who specializes in women's empowerment through authentic living. She works with women exclusively who want something more- confidence, faith, choice, direction, money, time, power. Elizabeth helps women recognize that everything in their life is a choice and by putting themselves first, clarifying their passions and values and by building self-confidence, they can have the life that they want. Her business, E. Johnson & Company offers personal growth workshops & seminars, coaching for individuals and groups, life / work planning services, speaking engagements and facilitated retreats.

Contact Elizabeth at info@ejohnsonandcompany.com or at 860 435 6008 for more information or for a complimentary consultation.

Visit info@ejohnsonandcompany.com and subscribe to Elizabeth's monthly ezine, 'In The Pink' and receive a free copy of the survey special report: 'Women & Confidence 2005'!

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